The variety of Hong Kong residents making use of for a path to UK citizenship fell 44% within the third quarter, displaying that demand for this system is waning virtually two years after it was created in response to China’s crackdown on dissent.
Some 10,100 British Nationwide (Abroad) passport holders utilized for the particular long-term visas between July and September, in keeping with information launched Thursday by the UK Dwelling Workplace. That represents the smallest quantity quantity in a three-month interval since London started taking functions in January 2021.
The UK has to this point acquired 150,600 visa functions underneath the BN(O) program, barely lower than midway to the 320,000 that the federal government estimated would apply within the first 5 years. About 98% of functions acquired have been authorised.
Then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s authorities introduced the visa after Beijing imposed a sweeping nationwide safety legislation on the previous British colony in June 2020. Johnson described the laws as a “severe breach” of the UK’s handover settlement with China, whereas Beijing in flip accused London of violating a promise to not lure away town’s residents and stopped recognizing the passports.
The BN(O) exodus contributed to Hong Kong’s largest inhabitants decline in a minimum of six a long time, a development fueled by the safety legislation and Covid curbs which have slowed journey into and out of the Asian monetary hub. Town noticed a lower of 121,500 residents within the yr that ended on June 30, leaving the inhabitants at about 7.29 million.
The latest fall in BN(0) functions coincided with mounting considerations about inflation within the UK, though the interval largely predates the fiscal turmoil that crashed the pound and compelled former Prime Minister Liz Truss to resign after simply 44 days. Hong Kong Chief Government John Lee has been rolling again virus curbs since taking workplace in July, making worldwide journey simpler.
The UK authorities has from October expanded the pathway to citizenship to incorporate these born after 1997, the yr Hong Kong returned to Chinese language rule, and those that have a minimum of one guardian with BN(O) standing.